The SRU women’s soccer team fought to defend their 2012 PSAC title against Gannon University Tuesday night.
The second-seed Rock was upset at Mihalik-Thompson stadium, losing to the Golden Knights 1–0 in regulation play. The loss not only ended SRU’s nine game winning streak, but also knocked the Rock out of the PSAC playoffs.
The lone goal of the game came in the 29th minute when Gannon deposited a goal behind senior goalkeeper Dana O’Neill off of a free kick. Following the goal, Gannon cancelled any offensive opportunities for the Rock by overloading their players on defense.
With only three shots and none on target, SRU struggled to provide themselves with any chance of scoring.
“I don’t think we did enough or created enough chances to win the game,” head coach Noreen Herlihy said. “You need to create opportunities to score goals. We didn’t do that well enough. In retrospect, this was only our third loss this year. I think we need to put the loss behind us. It’s been a great experience participating in the conference playoffs but the title is a very difficult thing to defend.”
With the win, Gannon will advance to the PSAC semifinals against sixth-seed West Chester University who defeated third-seed Kutztown 2-1 Tuesday afternoon. The two teams will face off at 1:30pm today.
Slippery Rock now awaits the NCAA Selection Show on Monday night in hopes of earning a sot in the NCAA Atlantic Regional playoffs. SRU has been the top seed in all Atlantic Region polls from the NCAA thus far this year.
“There is a good chance we will still be selected for the NCAA tournament,” O’Neill said. “We will have to keep our hopes high and keep practicing with intensity as if we are going to be selected.”
On Wednesday evening, the PSAC announced their All-PSAC selections for the 2013 season with the Rock earning six positions.
Andrea Felix was named the PSAC Freshman of the Year for her impressive performance on offense in her first season.
Felix finished the regular season in a three-way tie for third place in the PSAC standings for overall goals. She tallied 10 goals on the year and tied Brittney Kuhns of IUP and Mani Brueckner of Gannon. Freshman Dara Demich finished tied for sixth with ninegoals.
Senior Lauren Impey was named the PSAC Defender of the Year thanks to her aggressive and effective play. O’Neill was named a PSAC first team selection at goalkeeper, along with Impey at defense and sophomore Allison Harbart at midfield.
Junior Leslie Henny was named to the PSAC second team for a second consecutive year at midfield. Felix earned her first selection at forward. Freshman Lynn Neef was named to the PSAC third team at defense.
“If I were to give one message to my teammates, it would be to not take the game for granted,” O’Neill said. “Your years will fly by and it’s important to truly embrace every opportunity you get to step on the field.”
O’Neill concluded her final regular season as net minder for the Rock with the second lowest Goals Allowed Average (GaAvg) in the PSAC at .582. Ashley Magruda of California University claimed first place with a .354 GaAvg.
Slippery Rock finished the 2013 regular season with a 13-2-2 record and a 12-2-2 record in the PSAC. Shippensburg finished the year 11-5-1 and 10-5-1 in PSAC play.
“Overall I am very proud of this team. A lot of new faces coming in as defending champs and it’s a lot of pressure,” Herlihy said. “The future of this team remains bright, we still have a lot of soccer left to play this year. The loss to Gannon should propel us forward, I have no doubt that we have enough characters on this team to see that happen.”